Here’s 10 answers to the most common questions about renting a home in the Netherlands.

1What’s the difference between inclusive and exclusive rent?

Rent in the Netherlands consists of the basic rent (kale huur) and the service costs (servicekosten), which usually come to around 25% of the basic rent. Renting inclusive in the Netherlands means that all service costs (gas, water, electricity, internet and the like) are included in the stated monthly price. If you are renting exclusive means that these costs will come on top of the stated price. 

Therefore, the stated rent in housing ads can be misleading. Make sure you check whether the listed price is inclusive or exclusive. If the rent is listed exclusive, keep in mind that the amount you’re paying per month will actually be higher. Sometimes it is your responsibility to conclude contracts with service providers for electricity, gas, water and internet yourself. On the one hand, this causes more work, however, it could save you some money as you’re able to compare different service providers and choose the cheapest offer. There are tons of service providers for electricity, gas and water in the Netherlands. You can use comparison websites like pricewise or Independer to compare different deals.

Tip: If you are renting in the Netherlands inclusive, your landlord is obliged to declare the basic rent and the service costs in the rental contract and provide you with an overview of the service costs once a year. If the annual overview shows that the landlord has had to advance more for the service than was paid by the tenants, he or she may increase the service costs.

Some of the popular service providers for electricity and gas in the Netherlands are:

  • Eneco – electricity, gas and heat
  • Vattenfall – electricity, gas and heat
  • Essent – electricity, gas
  • Oxxio – electricity, natural gas, internet and television
  • Greenchoice – green energy supplier
  • Energiedirect – green energy and gas supplier

Popular service providers for internet and television in the Netherlands are:

2 Why do I need to pay a Deposit when renting in the Netherlands?

If you are renting a home in the Netherlands, you need to pay a deposit when you move in. Its value is usually around one or two month’s rent, and you either have to pay it upfront or transfer it together with your first rent. The deposit is a guarantee for the landlord. He or she uses it for costs that emerge if you break something in the apartment or house, and it’s not fixed by the time you’ll move out. It is also used if, at the moment you move out, you haven’t paid sufficient rent or moved out without notice. Usually, you’ll receive the deposit back as soon as you move out of a place.

3 Can I get a Housing Allowance?

If your rent is too high in comparison to your income, you might be entitled to rent allowance (huurtoeslag) from the government. To be granted this benefit when renting in the Netherlands, multiple criteria must be met. Conditions are i.a. your level of income, the amount of rent and whether the apartment you are renting has its own entrance (door). Most housing ads state if the apartment is suitable for rent benefit (Huurtoeslag mogelijk). So it might be clever to include this criterion in your search.

4 Is shared housing common in the Netherlands?

Shared accommodation, when renting in the Netherlands, is quite common, not only amongst students. In cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht or Rotterdam, rents tend to be quite high, which is why a lot of people in the Netherlands rent a home together with one or more people or move in with their boy- or girlfriend rather sooner than later. There are different forms of shared housing. Big student homes with five or more people who share kitchen/bathroom and toilet are quite a common renting form amongst students in the Netherlands. But also young professionals at the beginning of their career often share their home with roommates. You’ll also find places where you share the shower and/or toilet whereas you have everything else for yourself.

5 Do I have to register my address when renting in the Netherlands?

If you stay in the Netherlands for four months or longer, you need to register at the BRP, which is a database containing personal data of all residents of the Netherlands. If you move to a new place, you need to report your new address to the BRP and deregister your old address. You must do so within four weeks before and no later than five days after your address changes. If you are moving within the same municipality, you can mostly register the address change digitally via the website of the respective municipality. However, if you move to another municipality within the Netherlands, you register with the municipality you are going to live. The municipality that you leave takes care of deregistration.

Sometimes housing ads contain the note: “no registration possible” meaning that you can’t register on this address, which, in fact, is illegal. Reasons could be that the landlord simply doesn’t feel like receiving all the mail from previous tenants (including debt collectors at the door). However, it’s more likely that the room is located in a house of which the landlord is not allowed to (sub)rent that room or that the landlord does not specify all rent for the taxes.

Unfortunately, especially in student cities, this happens quite frequently. However, next to the fact that it is not allowed not to register your address at the BRP, not registering brings another disadvantage as well: To receive allowances from the government (e.g. housing or care allowance), you need to be legally registered with your address.

6 What happens whith my mail?

If you change address, next to the BRP, it’s handy to inform all companies and people you possibly receive mail from about your new address. As this can be quite some work, you might consider using the Post NL Verhuisservice to take care of this. The Dutch post automatically notifies essential companies of your change of address, provides you with a list of which companies already received your new address and have your mail automatically forwarded to your new address. For this service you pay around 2 Euro per week, depending on how long you’d like to have your mail forwarded.

7 Who’s doing the Renovation?

In the Netherlands, it is normal that you repaint the room, apartment or house yourself when you move in. If the previous tenant happened to be a big fan of red walls and you are (surprisingly) not, it is your responsibility to change this. However, that means that if you move out, you’re also not obliged to bring back the apartment in its original state, except, of course, something is broken (see deposit).

Another peculiar thing about renting in the Netherlands is that the Dutchies sometimes move their floor (Read more about it in Niclas’ story). Make sure you arrange this with the previous tenant before moving day. Some tenants prefer to leave the floor and sell it to you as it’s easier for all parties involved.

8 To whom belongs the washing machine?

In comparison to other countries (like Germany and Switzerland, for example) usually, every household has an own washing machine, which is mostly located in the kitchen, bathroom or a separate washing closet. Unless you are renting a furnished place, the washing machine usually is not provided, meaning that you have to buy a washing machine yourself. However, this, of course, is different if you are moving into a shared house. Most likely, there is already a washing machine unless it belonged to the person moving out.

9 What’s the best time to find a place?

To be honest, we can’t exactly tell you the best time for renting a house in the Netherlands, but we can definitely tell you what time of the year renting in the Netherlands harder. In student cities like Utrecht, Leiden or Groningen, the summer is the busiest period on the housing market, when a lot of new Dutch students are looking for a place to live before University starts in September. If you are moving to the Netherlands in the summer, make sure you reserve enough time to visit the possible accommodations in person. Check our 10 ways to find accommodation in the Netherlands.

After September, but especially in December and January, the housing market usually calms down. The most popular moving-months are April, May and June, meaning that this is also the time where renting in the Netherlands is easiest and most accommodation is available.

10 Am I allowed to have pets?

Not all landlords allow pets. Most housing ads state whether pets are allowed in the accommodation or not. Some landlords favour tenants without pets as there is a lower risk of noise disturbance and damage. However, that’s different for every landlord and in our experience landlords can make exceptions. If you’re having pets and are not sure whether they are allowed in the accommodation or not, make sure you wait for a tactical moment to ask.